Important questions I frequently ask myself:
“If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?” Run
“What is your passion?” Running
“What are your life dreams?” Running
“What gives you the greatest pleasure?” Running
“What personal dreams do you have for your life?” Running
“What race should I do next?” Surrey League Cross Country Round 4 at Richmond Park (at the time of posting this blog, this was last weekend, so I need to plan the next race)
“Where are the best fitness studios nearby, that I haven’t previously visited, without spending a fortune or enrolling in a fixed plan?” To be answered
At the start of the year and with a little time on my hands, I attempted to complete my FAQs. Any other meaningful questions will need to wait.
Given the abundance of choice in South West London and thereabouts for gyms, fitness and yoga studios, physical well-being, needs and experiences, I didn’t need to think too hard to find ‘the best’ local fitness studios with fantastic offers.
Top of my list and the first fitness studio I visited was Yoga Hub London on Sheen Lane, near North Sheen Railway Station and a plethora of coffee shops and other yoga studios.
Yoga Hub offers a 30 day intro for £45 – unlimited classes for 30 consecutive days; and provides a variety of classes and practice styles in its light and airy heated yoga studio.
The ethos of the studio embraces yoga – an ancient form of exercise and meditation that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental well-being. The studio provides something for all and is about challenging your limits; physically, mentally and learning to breathe through it.
In addition to an excellent schedule of classes, Yoga Hub London regularly hosts workshops and masterclasses on fitness and nutrition, handstands, crow and headstand, ashtanga, yogasana and yin, and lots more.
On February 1st, “Hunter,” from the hit 1990’s television show Gladiators (real name, James Crossley), led a two hour Strength & Conditioning Workshop. I didn’t sign-up for this workshop (workshops are not included in the intro offer) but I wish I did. James Crossley is super-human and built like a Greek God.
During the 30 day intro period, I attended 20 classes, combining Vinyasa Flow, Yin, and HubFit.
The second intro offer that I purchased was for Barnes-based Clifford Studios.
Clifford Studios offers a variety of classes and a flexible timetable that aims to get people moving and break down as many barriers to exercise as possible.
The bespoke studio’s small class sizes ensure that teachers give attention to each class member as well as getting to know their individual needs and aims.
The small classes are lots of fun and feel like you’re benefitting from a 1-to-1 session.
Using the studios intro offer of 10 classes in 10 days for £10, I attended ten classes over six days, including TRX Yoga, TRX fitness, Sweat + Strength, Sweat + Swing (kettlebells), Vinyasa Flow and Yin.
Next, I took-up Core Collective‘s intro 3 class taster pack for £40, visiting the Kensington studio, by Holland Park. Core Collective also has prime locations in Knightsbridge and St John’s Wood.
Core Collective’s swish facilities include state-of-the-art equipment and class-based exercises including interval training, cycling, yoga, spin and TRX.
The Kensington studio also includes beautiful art curated by Maddox Gallery, that gives the studio are very special and cool vibe.
With Core Collective, I used the 3 class taster pack to attend TRX / BURN and CIRCUIT / TRAIN classes.
Although not in SW London, I couldn’t not include visiting The Fore in King’s Cross. The Fore is a boutique studio offering class based TRX exercises and personal training along with a co-working space, alternative medicine and a cafe.
The Fore offers a £15 trial class pass. The studio’s signature classes include Foretitude, Noga, Skill RX, Forebody and Four X Fore. Each class combines TRX with a range of elements, including free weights, Skillmill running machines, rip trainers and cardio, to create challenging full body functional workouts.
Using the £15 trial class pass, I was put through my paces in the 45 minute Forebody class – a pure TRX session that harnesses your own bodyweight to develop balance, posture and core muscles to increase overall strength.
The class was intense and good fun – there were only two of us attending this Friday, 10am class, so it felt like a PT session. Given the elite trainers at this studio, £15 is really good value.
Next, and if you know your way around a gym. A good way to get a workout, try something new and save money, is to get a free taster pass for a gym. For this option, I visited Anytime Fitness Twickenham.
Anytime Fitness Twickenham is an affordable gym with state-of-the-art equipment that’s open year-round 24/7.
I visited Anytime Fitness Twickenham on a Friday at 6pm. This is an off-peak time for the gym in terms of number of gym users – even with capped membership, this popular gym can get very busy – so I made the most out of an enjoyable and easy 4-mile treadmill run, free weights and stretching.
Worth a mention:
Mid-way through January, I attended an England Athletics Movement Skills Workshop at David Weir Leisure Centre in Carshalton, Surrey.
This workshop, incorporating classroom and practical skills (drills, jumps and throws), doesn’t really count as an intro offer but worth including in this blog as it only cost £20, and the facilities at David Weir Leisure Centre are an athletics lover’s dream.
The Leisure Centre is more of a sports village with an athletics stadium, indoor track, state-of-the-art gym, gymnastics, swimming pool, soft play area for kids and cafe. Pay-as-you-go prices range from £4.50 for a swim and £14.50 for a gym pass.
In late January, I completed an introductory TRX Suspension Training Course, hosted by SIX3NINE in Covent Garden. SIX3NINE is a specialist gym staffed by elite trainer’s and has been named one of the best providers of personal training in the UK numerous times.
The TRX course cost £149.95 and SIX3NINE has a 2 FOR 1 introductory offer for £20.
By taking-up several local intro offers – attending 34 classes over 30-days (I could have attended more, but as you might expect, other commitments spoilt my fun) – the total cost was comparable to your average gym’s monthly membership.
Nevertheless, the new and diverse experiences were really enjoyable and challenging, and all the studios were incredibly welcoming.
I highly recommend looking out for offers, trial packs and workshops, and I hope to continue finding other great local offers. I have an eye on Fulham-based studios Terra Hale and Paola’s Bodybarre who both specialise in TRX, and I hope to visit them soon.
Now I’ve had a taste of all these amazing studios, the downside is that I want to continue visiting them all, all the time. The problem being, I’ve already used their intro offers.